After reading Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who to my six-year old at bedtime the other night, I read one of our several princess books to my three-year old. Never again will I read a Dr. Seuss book immediately before reading a normal story. My mind wanted every line in Cinderella to rhyme.
While reading Cinderella, my all-too serious mind wondered why the glass slippers didn’t disappear with the ball gown, horse-drawn coach and footman. It’s never dawned on me before that this story had such a major flaw in its writing.
Thankfully, my daughters don’t think like I do. They enjoy the story for its fascination and happy ending. When I read it, I analyze every aspect and wonder how the author could make such an egregious error.
I’m too serious.
Yes, I just admitted it. I’m too serious for my own good.
Realize, now, that I’m an accountant. So seriousness is in my DNA. I’m supposed to analyze the details and figure out why things happen the way they do. I’m supposed to be serious.
What’s the danger in being too serious anyway?
You will add unnecessary stress – Many of us who are too serious for our own good cause ourselves unwanted stress. Striving for perfection can be good. However, getting upset when you don’t reach perfection isn’t good. It’s stressful.
You will experience less joy – When you add unnecessary stress to your life, you also add worry. With worry, you decrease the opportunities to experience joy. Instead of seeing the positives in small or big experiences, you will focus on all the little things that were incorrect or could have been better.
Let’s look at an example from my past on experiencing less joy. One of the most influential books I’ve ever read is Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I couldn’t put the book down once I started reading.
The message in the book kept me intrigued but I kept getting distracted by all the typos and other mistakes in the book. I actually started reading books with a pen because of that book. When I see a mistake in grammar, punctuation or spelling in any form of written content, I have to correct it. I was way too serious.
Focusing on those mistakes reduces the impact the content could have on me. I enjoy reading less because of it. Thankfully, I’ve gotten better. Reading books on Kindle has helped me with this issue because I can’t use a pen to correct the errors so I just keep reading and enjoy the content!
You will have too many ideas – When you see so many things that are wrong, you will have the solutions on how to fix every one of those issues. Unfortunately, you will see so much that is wrong that you will be flooded with ideas.
Instead of implementing any of those terrific solutions, you will just keep coming up with more ideas. You will also fear the risks that could occur if you try to implement an idea. You will be paralyzed from taking action because you’re too serious.
You will turn some people off – Those around you who are not like you will be completely turned off by you when you act too serious. People fall into three categories regarding seriousness: too serious (like me), neutral or aloof.
Those of the neutral reaction will typically not be totally turned off by your actions. They just go with the flow and don’t get too high or low emotionally. The aloof portion of society though believe everything should be rainbows and daffodils. They are too far removed from the seriousness of life to understand your reactions.
You will work too much – I’ve been too serious regarding my career for many years. In fact, it’s been since the first day I started working. Granted, you should take your job and career seriously. But, it should not be your focus.
I took my job too serious. The result was that I neglected my family and friends because of it. Thankfully, I’ve been reigned in and have seen the light. My career will still be important but not to the point it overshadows time with my family and friends.
What can you do to keep from being too serious?
Everyone, to some extent, is too serious about something in their lives. You are not exempt from that. I’m guilty of being too serious. So are you.
The primary problem is that it is very difficult to identify when you are too serious about something. In many cases, someone needs to point it out to you. Once you come to the realization that you are too serious about something, here are some steps you can take.
1. Admit the problem
2. Identify why you have been so serious
3. Take one action to decrease your need to be so serious
4. Find an accountability partner
5. Ask for forgiveness from those you’ve hurt
You are on this earth for a short period of time. Being too serious about life is not worth sacrificing the joy that can be achieved in your time here. Place more emphasis on making a positive impact on others than on your self. I’m serious….too serious!